This article summarizes and highlights the results of four surveys on digital transformation (Forrester, Altimeter, 451 Research, and Adobe). It is interesting to see the similarities between these surveys. Despite minor differences, there is remarkable concurrence on what is happening and what companies need to do about it.

There is general consensus among the C-level executives these surveys target about the fact that digital transformation is arguably set to make the biggest impact yet in the next few years. The following lists some of the more interesting consensus opinions from these four surveys.

 

  • Two-thirds (65%) of C-suite executives believe that 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies will not exist in 10 years’ time. The winners will be the more digitally advanced organizations that have a holistic strategy, driven from the top down by the CEO with buy-in from the entire C-suite.
  • Mature digital businesses are rare (just 11% of companies surveyed). The CEO drives the digital vision and strategy in these organizations (41% of CEOs set the digital strategy, while 59% understand and support it).
  • Customer experience is the ‘North Star’ for digital transformation initiatives today. The clear emphasis of digitalization efforts of businesses is on analytics to improve customer experience and behavior and this is the top driver of digital transformation.
  • After customer experience, the digital transformation initiatives at organizations were:
    1. Accelerating innovation
    2. Modernizing IT infrastructure
    3. Improving operational agility (speeding time to market)
    4. Expanding into new markets
    5. Responding to competitive pressure and accommodating new regulatory and compliance standards

A common theme is the use of automated (or artificial) intelligence –  generating insight from data and moving to data-driven decision making.

Less than a quarter of organizations have a well-defined formal digital transformation strategy (a multi-year roadmap to guide digital transformation evolution), while 36 percent were either considering or planning a strategy and 29 percent had no strategy at all.

These surveys reveal a distinct bias towards companies that have direct end-consumer interactions. The focus is heavily on software, electronics, consumer goods, retail and social network types of companies with less attention being paid to capital intensive business that manufacture goods and participate in the B2B world. That’s not to say that customer-centricity is not important for these B2B industrial companies, but that areas of digitalization that relate to manufacturing (Industry 4.0) and science-based RD&E are not well covered here and one must look elsewhere for this information.
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